EDITOR’S COMMENT: The UK Government intends to stop the sale of all new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars by 2035, with the intention of being completely carbon neutral by 2050. This policy is horribly expensive and needless, and threatens the jobs and livelihoods of millions of people all over the country. Sign our petition now!
The ban on the sale of new petrol and electric models from 2030 has been called “a seismic step” for car buyers. So far in 2020, only 9 per cent of the new cars bought in the UK have been electric (EV) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs); that gives the Government nine years to change the purchasing habits of 90 per cent of the new-car buying population.
If petrol (or diesel) suits your lifestyle, mileage and budget, buy that. At midnight on 31 December 2029, service stations won’t just put up the closed sign and begin ripping out all their pumps to replace them with electric vehicle (EV) charging points. Neither will garages stop servicing internal combustion-engined cars. The ban is on sales of new petrol and diesel models from 2030. The legislation doesn’t apply to the sale of used cars. But what happens to the used value of petrol and diesel models depends on how the intervening nine years pan out. There are two broad scenarios: the transition to EVs goes smoothly. Or it doesn’t.
The government offers increased grants or tax breaks to EV buyers. The number of new charging points might also have accelerated significantly. To help pay for this, the treasury could hike duty on petrol and diesel fuel or bump up car tax (or its successor) for combustion engine drivers.
In this case, drivers will convert quickly to electric cars and there will be increasing numbers of electric cars on the used market. Demand for supposed smelly, expensive and inconvenient petrol and diesel models will decline, people will happily switch to used EVs and values of second-hand petrol/diesel models will fall.
The Government’s ramping up of electric car charging points doesn’t happen as quickly or extensively as it needs to. Some public EV charging points currently cost up to nine times more to use than home chargers. If that continues, using EVs may be viewed as unreliable and expensive. That might be emphasised if grants incentivising drivers to switch to electric cars aren’t sufficient.